Greenville Forward

Back in 2003, a group of engaged community members led by Dr. David Shi, president of Furman University, began work on Vision 2025: a planning process to address future growth in fifteen areas including social services, education, parks, and open spaces. Crafting vision statements for what Greenville could become was the “easy” part. Then the real work began.

“As we completed the plan, we faced the daunting challenge of converting the list of exciting goals/initiatives into reality,” explained Dr. Shi. “They were far too numerous and substantial to rely upon ad hoc volunteer efforts to bring them to fruition.”

And so, a nonprofit organization was born whose sole purpose according to Dr. Shi, “would be to nurture Vision 2025–mobilizing volunteers, convening meetings, recruiting expertise, sustaining energy and excitement.”

Russell Stall, a man with enthusiasm to spare, stepped up to spearhead the nascent Greenville Forward. But it would take more than eagerness to get the ball rolling. That’s when the Community Foundation stepped in with a grant for $300,000.

Minor Shaw, co-chair of the initial effort said, “The work envisioned by Russell Stall had to have financial support and staff. The grant from the Community Foundation came at a critical time in their development. It caused other foundations in the community, as well as individuals and corporations to feel more secure in also granting funds to them.”

Stall agreed. “The Community Foundation’s investment got us up and running. We wouldn’t be here without it.”

Together with Brock Koonce, program director, and Kate Hofler, director of community connections, he is well on his way to upholding the Greenville Forward mission to “enhance the quality of life for greater Greenville by engaging all citizens in continually updating, promoting, and facilitating a community vision for 2025 and beyond.”